Leeds today: buskers, housing, elderly care, police commissioners, bonfires, streetlights and Book Night!

Hello! It’s Wednesday, halfway through the week and it is foggy, murky, frit, misty, however you like to put it out there. Let’s see if we can’t brighten the day a little.

The announcement about LCC-run fireworks displays on Bonfire Night is here! For the first time in years (it seems) the calendar has worked out that we actually have bonfires on November 5th, at many of the public parks in Leeds. Remember, if you’re going to Roundhay then get there early and regardless of location wear wellies, no matter what the weather is doing.

The Leeds Citizen has taken a look at how homes could be built on brownfield, but it doesn’t seem likely. The preference is to build on greenfield sites, it seems – no demolition or cleanup costs, for starters. We have a huge social housing problem in Leeds and it is getting worse, but roughly the same number of homes that are needed are being kept empty for whatever reason. Beggars belief, sometimes.

Today we’re really interested in the upcoming elections for Police Commissioner – and if your name is “Jim Gordon” and you’re not running then something is seriously wrong. After recent questions being asked at BGL Towers along the lines of “are we even registered to vote for PCC?” the ballot papers started dropping through the letterboxes last week. The YEP asks whether anybody knows or cares about the PCC elections:

It’s likely that they were met with bemused expressions by thousands of householders. Ask people what significant election is due to take place next month and it’s conceivable that, of those who would be able to offer any answer, a significant proportion, if not most, would mention the American presidential race.

It’s a fair point. Expectations are that turnout will be the lowest in electoral history, even beating the appalling voting rates for MEPs, not helped by FUD-dy advertising which will only make people avoid the message. Still! If you don’t vote you can’t complain when the resultant Commissioner makes a hash of it all.

There are 12 elections in the North and The Guardian Northerner examines who is running for which party in which race. It’s strange that this is a political animal – frankly, the last person I want running the Police Authority is a politician who, contrary to definition is rarely a “man of the city” – and would much rather it be a meritocracy. But what do I know? Questions that need to be asked of candidates include if whether West Yorkshire’s PCC candidates sole focus is on Leeds or will our other cities, towns & rural areas get a look in? It’s not a good sign when one of the candidates cannot spell “Yorkshire” on his own website. Ed’s note: as of 25/10/12 we can report that all the candidates can now spell the area they’re hoping to represent.

Screengrab from 23rd Oct 2012 – the site may have been fixed by now.

Anyway! It’s probably a good sign that South Leeds Life spotted work on Hunslet Cemetery’s fencing. Work has been sorely needed there for months.

If you were one of the lucky people who managed to get a ticket to the Halloween party in the Vic next week, alas there is some bad news; the party is now off. Boo! This is due to circumstances outside of Kirsty’s control, and it’s a shame that now nobody will get to see the creepy-as-hell hotel above the Vic.

Bramley in Bloom are having another of their bulb planting days this weekend. The group have been planting daffodil bulbs around the area and are looking for help planting a bunch more! (Although, we’d like to see some crocuses in that mix too, for the bees?)

The Travelling Suitcase Library is back at Arcadia on Weds 31st for a Dark and Stormy Bookswap as part of World Book Night (which seems to have come around awfully fast). No fancy dress, but plenty of good reads and tasty beers (and no dreadful Halloween-themed music).

Leeds Online have a great story about Leeds biggest busking event taking place on Saturday where 100 (or more!) buskers will line Briggate to take part in a “Busk Queue” (ahahahahah! puns!). Auditions are being held tonight at Holy Trinity so if you feel like having a go we suggest you get down there. Should be awesome. And noisy.

A debate is taking place today in Scarborough about turning off streetlights in the dead of night. The so-called “Yorkshire Blackout” could be an interesting way of saving money and carbon emissions, but there are concerns that there will be burglars out there.

Finally today the Guardian has a look at some of the pioneering work being done in Leeds in terms of social care for the elderly:

… Older people who are eligible for care under the Facs (fair access to care services) system, and who wish to take a personal budget, would choose to supplement or replace the council-provided elements of their support packages with more tailored services, provided by local social enterprises and their volunteers. The money saved through using volunteers would be split between the council and the social enterprise, which would invest its share in the community.

This is a completely new model and could have huge benefits for elderly people who are capable of mostly looking after themselves and taking responsibility for their care. Exciting times.

That’s it for today! Thanks for reading and if you have any comments you’d like to make on these or any other stories then get in touch! Email, tweet or speak to us on the street, we’re always interested in what our readers have to say.

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